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Taking the 2017 Kia Cadenza for a Test Drive

Kia’s larger-sized sedan, the Cadenza, has been revamped for 2017. Kia’s luxury sedan is one of its lesser known vehicles, but like with most of Kia’s models, it’s on the upswing. Kia’s done great jobs with their Sorento, Sportage, Optima, and Sedona, and that general level of quality is reflected in the redesigned Cadenza.

This year’s model has cleaner lines and a more modern and refined look then its predecessors. Kia describes the new look to be “clean-cut masculine elegance” and “like a well-dressed gentleman, the beauty is in the details.” We tend to agree with those sentiments, because the new 2017 Kia Cadenza does indeed look sleeker, more modern and even more high-end this time around. It’s also got a new face which features a concave grill surface along with Kia’s signature tiger nose grill. The Cadenza’s LED head and tail lights have a unique z shape for a dramatic and somewhat futuristic look. There’s also chrome trim around the rear of the vehicle. It all gives the 2017 Cadenza the look of luxury.

In the cabin, the interior has been refined with cleaner shapes and minimal adornment. The result is a more modern interior that manages to be attractive without being too flashy. The interior can be customized with quilted Nappa leather and wood grain trims. While driving, it’s also incredibly quiet in the cabin.

Apple CarPlay has quickly become our infotainment system of choice. Fortunately, Kia has been good about bringing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to their models, and that includes the Cadenza models. The car runs Kia’s own UVO infotainment system by default, which isn’t bad, but isn’t quite as good at navigation as Google or Apple.

In addition, the car comes standard with Harman Kardon premium audio speakers. The car also offers options like adaptive cruise control, smart blind spot detection, wireless charging, and a neat smart trunk feature. The smart trunk feature automatically opens the trunk for you when you stand in the back of the vehicle while holding your key fob.

Under the hood, the 2017 Cadenza is powered by a 3.3-Liter V6 engine with 290 horsepower. Kia has improved power output while reducing emissions, and the engine starts up much more quickly then the 2016 model. When it comes to the construction of the new Cadenza, Kia has increased the amount of structural adhesive, resulting in a big improvement in rigidity. This new rigidity translates really well on the road. Personally, I’m very prone to car sickness, especially when driving along hilly and twisting roads. Yet even when sitting in the passenger seat, while driving along some incredibly twisty mountainous roads in the Virginia countryside, I never once felt sick.

The 2017 Kia Cadenza has impressed us with its new more modern and refined looks, and we also appreciate all the included tech it comes packed with — and that so much of it comes standard. But what really stood out for us is how well the Cadenza handles sharp turns and winding roads. Kia has come a long way when it comes to improving suspension and providing a super smooth ride, and the 2017 Cadenza especially shines in that respect. The 2017 Kia Cadenza goes on sale in October / November. The SXL Limited model that we took for a test drive starts below $44,000 (not including an $895 destination charge).

The Good: Affordable, comfortable and super quiet large interior, comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard, Harman premium audio comes standard, improved fuel efficiency (20/28 mpg city/highway), incredibly smooth ride, neat smart trunk feature

The Bad: Speakers need improvement